2010 Municipal Election Priorities
Let's Continue Building a Green Toronto
For 10 years Toronto has worked hard to solve key environmental problems facing the city. Investments to expand public transit and create a city-wide green bin program and programs that promote energy efficiency and green power all curb climate change, clean the air and create necessary and new green jobs. Policies that reduce toxic pollutants make for healthier communities and businesses. All of this happened because Torontonians and successive City Councils believed that environmental solutions are a priority.
Over the coming months, Mayor and Council candidates will be speaking to Torontonians about their vision of the City. While there may be disagreements on other issues, everyone should agree we must continue to build on Toronto's environmental successes.
Below are 6 priority actions, in no particular order, that will build on 10 years of environmental success. Investments in each action won't just improve our environment, they will lead to better health and save us money as we avoid some of the huge financial costs associated with traffic congestion, waste disposal, climate change, and illnesses due to pollution.
We call on every candidate to endorse these 6 priority actions and work towards implementing them over the next term of Council.
Transit City promises to bring light rapid transit service [pdf] to Torontonians across the city. This will go a long way towards cleaning the air, curbing climate change and relieving congestion on
our roads by making it easier and cheaper for people to keep their cars at home. Transit City once again makes it clear that public transit is a public good.
But who will pay for the operating costs of Transit City? Right now, TTC riders pay over 70% of TTC operating costs through fares, at a rate that is higher than any other transit users in Canada. Unfortunately, 62% of TTC riders don't have an affordable alternative to the TTC. This means further fare increases are not an option for low income Torontonians nor are they fair to TTC riders.
In the past, the Province paid 50% of the TTC's operating costs. It's time the Provincial and the Federal Governments joined TTC riders and Toronto property taxpayers in providing operating funds for this important public good.
Action: By 2011, the new Mayor and Council must work with the TTC and upper levels of government to develop an affordable, equitable and long-term funding strategy which covers at least half of the TTC's operating costs.
The City pledged to reach 70% waste diversion by 2010 but they only made it to 50%. The key culprit in missing the target was unacceptable delays in getting the Green Bin program into high-rise buildings. This means half of Toronto's households still don't have access to organic waste collection services. The delays also mean organic waste continues to take up precious landfill space. Achieving the 70% target will only happen when all Torontonians have equal access to the City's waste collection services.
Action: The next Council must ensure that all apartment buildings in Toronto have Green Bin collection service by the end of 2011. One year later, other waste diversion programs must be in place so that the City meets its 70% diversion target by 2012.
Toronto residents, businesses and governments are poised to spend billions of dollars on green products over the next decade. The City will have a significant impact on these expenditures both as a purchaser of green products (eg. Transit City, green power through Toronto Hydro, the Mayor's Tower Renewal) and through policy decisions (eg. implementing the Sustainable Energy Plan). If we do nothing, these local dollars will leave the City and Country. If we act, our local dollars can be used to support local green jobs, local green businesses and local green manufacturing.
Action: The next Council must require City purchases of green products to give priority to local workers and local manufacturing.
Cycling and walking are important forms of transportation that contribute to a healthier population and reduce negative impacts on the environment. We need infrastructure built to accommodate bikes and pedestrians as well as transit vehicles and cars. In the U.S. this is happening through "Complete Streets" policies that ensure the planning and redevelopment of streets are done with all users (pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders of all ages and abilities along with cars and trucks) in mind.
While a "Complete Streets" policy is developed, key transportation infrastructure, such as bike lanes, need to be built, the Toronto Walking Strategy can be implemented, and all road users can be educated about road sharing and responsibilities.
Action: The next Council must develop and implement a "Complete Streets" policy by 2014, fully implement the Toronto Bike Plan by 2012, and launch a public education campaign targeting all road users about road sharing and responsibilities.
In November 2009, the City adopted the Sustainable Energy Plan. This strategy sets important targets for energy conservation and renewable power development to help the City meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. The strategy also outlines what steps will be taken to meet these energy use targets.
A key component of the strategy is designing and delivering to homes, businesses and institutions across Toronto energy retrofits and renewable energy installations. The first step requires the City to establish a partnership with Enbridge, Enwave and our publicly-owned Toronto Hydro to deliver these energy efficiency and green power services to all Torontonians.
Action: The next Council must implement the City's Sustainable Energy Plan starting with getting the partnership between the City, Enbridge, Enwave, and our publicly-owned Toronto Hydro working and home energy retrofits underway by 2011.
In 2008, the City passed a precedent setting pollution disclosure bylaw [pdf] mandating thousands of businesses and industries to track and report their use of 25 toxic substances. The City began phasing in the mandatory reporting this year through its ChemTRAC program.
The next step is to help Toronto polluters -including the City of Toronto- reduce and eventually eliminate chemical pollutants covered by the bylaw that poison our water, air and land. The most effective way to reduce pollution is by developing and implementing pollution prevention plans. Small business is in need of the expertise, tools and education to help reduce costs, prevent dangerous pollution and be good neighbours in our city.
Action: By 2011, the next Council must have in place the tools small businesses need to devise pollution prevention plans with clear reduction targets.
|Municipal Election Priorities.pdf||96.68 KB|
|TEA Election Priorities Brochure.pdf||473.17 KB|